Animal studies suggest that alcohol withdrawal alters the balance of the neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate. To test this in humans, we aimed to measure plasma concentrations of glutamate, GABA, and the glutamate/GABA ratio in alcoholic patients with complicated alcohol withdrawal syndrome with the same values in non-alcohol dependent/non-alcohol dependent controls and to determine prognostic factors for severe withdrawal.
88 Patients admitted to the emergency department for acute alcohol intoxication (DSM-IV) were therefore specifically studied. Measurements of GABA and glutamate were performed on admission (Time 1, T1) and after 12 ± 2 h (T2). The concentration of GABA in the experimental group was significantly lower in T1 than in the CG.
CONCLUSION: Decreased synthesis of GABA and increased synthesis of glutamate could be related to withdrawal symptoms during brachial cessation of chronic alcohol consumption.
Alcohol: Sep-Oct 2012;47(5):501-8: Alteration of glutamate/GABA Balance During Acute Alcohol Withdrawal in Emergency Department: A Prospective Analysis